- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

Reviews Categories | Receive Pre-amps | MFJ-959C Help

Reviews Summary for MFJ-959C
MFJ-959C Reviews: 6 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $99.95
Description: Receiver Antenna Tuner / Preamp
Product is in production.
More info:
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the MFJ-959C.

AK9S Rating: 2/5 Apr 9, 2014 09:19 Send this review to a friend
Lousy...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased the 959C based on a review given below where it was used with a PAR EF-SWL antenna. I did not find any gain whatsoever on the broadcast and ham bands and will be returning the unit. Apparently the EF-SWL does not have any significant impedance mismatches and the 959C does not improve reception.

I suspect the reviewer did not realize when the 959C is in bypass mode, the signal can be attenuated by more than 20 dB. Not really a true bypass - simply turn the Antenna knob and see a dramatic change in signal strength. Very sad.

That said, what appears to be gain is really attenuation. One can be easily misled to believe they are getting a 2 or 3 S unit improvement in reception by depressing the TUNED and BYPASS buttons.

The quality of the 959C is poor. Buttons are tilted with respect to the openings in the case, some of the knobs deflect when turned, another knob does not line up with the letters (A, B, C, etc.)
ZL1003SWL Rating: 4/5 Jan 20, 2012 13:12 Send this review to a friend
Really helps DX  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought it brand new from US (I live in New Zealand) to be used with my wire antennas and my JRC NRD 545.
Even though got a bit disappointed with the construction material that is a bit crappy such as the metal cabinet, buttons a bit loose, etc., it really does the job.
I am using it with a Windom antenna and recently, using the Preamplifier feature, managed to hear a pirate station from Europe broadcasting only with a few watts.
I am satisfied with its performance, just think it could be a bit better built.
ROGERSYD Rating: 3/5 Jan 24, 2009 08:00 Send this review to a friend
Buy 'er used  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I use the 959C with a EF-SWL antenna attached to an Icom R75. My situation and antenna placement are far from ideal. Correctly fiddled with the 959 brings weak signals up 3 or 4 S units. The controls are a bit touchy as stated in other reviews. I have not opened this unit up for an inspection so those issues may be easily resolved. In addition those perceived shortcomings may have resulted from wear.

I picked my unit up used for about thirty bucks short of retail. For that price it was a great buy. If you like knobs and buttons, you'll be in hog heaven. Otherwise you will probably just be annoyed.
EXLABDRIVER Rating: 4/5 Mar 19, 2008 10:35 Send this review to a friend
Can be helpful  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently acquired a a lightly used 959C with power supply for an excellent price to assist my venerable Realistic DX-300 with weak signals.

I immediately found that there was up/down play in the rotary knobs that I didn't like - so off came the cover. I found that the circuit board to which the knobs are attached is only secured to the floor of the case thus allowing back & forth flexing when the knobs are adjusted. I fashioned 5 braces from popsicle sticks and gently
wedged them between the top of the board & the front & back of the case - sort of like floor joists in a house. I epoxied the braces to
the ends touching the case to hold them in place. Voila, rock solid & no play anymore. MFJ should have done something similar.

Operationally I set it up on the 'COM' terminals of my MFJ-1700C Switching Unit (so far a great product BTW) so that is inline with all receivers & my PAR EF-SWL & a 77' 'Snake in the Grass' antennas. The 959C can be used in a 'Bypass' mode or turned on for signal peaking with or without amplification. It also has switching provisions for a second antenna & receiver that I don't use here, but it is a nice feature.

The 'Gain' knob actually seems to antennuate the signal between minimum & about 9 o'clock on its dial where amplification starts to come in. This makes it very useful tailoring the gain. I don't find that it injects its own noise into the signal but atmospheric noise is amplified along with the signal; however, adjusting the other 3 peaking knobs can improve the S/N ratio.

Does it work? Well it certainly assisted my DX-300 in finally pulling in a readable signal from across the continent on AFRTS, Key West on 5446.5 USB last night. After months of trying, this exercise previously had not been successful on this radio. I also heard the Ecuadorian Time Signal HD2IOA on 3810 for the first time in my Vancouver Island location.

So it does assist in some situations, sometimes significantly. It probably will not help expensive rigs much & it has little or no effect on good signals; however, it can be helpful in some difficult situations with a lesser radio.

What is nice is that one can fully bypass it and only have a small insertion loss to deal with.

While this unit is quite innovative, it does not exude quality. It needs internal bracing to eliminate the play in the knobs & higher quality push button switches. I quite like it but utilizing it does require more knob twiddling if not in bypass mode.....
DAVIDVD59 Rating: 4/5 Aug 17, 2007 19:36 Send this review to a friend
depends on your antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I procrastinated a long time about getting a tuner for my swl listening, given the pros and cons I have read about using a tuner for receiving. I have a 40 meter dipole, and do not receive the 75 meter ham band on it that well so I bought this unit. It did not help on my dipole very much at all. So I take a cb whip (102") with me when i go north to listen to my radio. The 959c GREATLY increased my listening ability on the whip, to a level better than my 40 meter dipole did on 75 meters believe it or not, and I am talking about the tuner not the preamp. The preamp adds to it after that. Signals that were s 3 to 4 on the whip tune to at least s 9. This unit will not work on the bcb.

The on/off bypass switch for the tuner is a little difficult to turn on and off as a push button, the button switches FEEL cheap. Gain of the preamp control is not linear at all.

Overall I'll keep experimenting, but certain antennas CAN be helped a lot by using a tuner!
KY6R Rating: 5/5 Jan 12, 2004 09:03 Send this review to a friend
Very Good  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I use this tuner / preamp on a 160M full wave loop and my K9AY Loop Controller. I use the built in preamp for the 160M loop, but do not use the built in preamp along with the K9AY Loop Controller - which already has a preamp.

The ability to tune both the 160 and K9AY loops and the fact that this unit lets you switch 2 receive antennas between 2 rigs is EXACTLY what I needed in my shack. The tuned circuit works well, and the preamp is not too noisy. It also has a built in attenuator.

Always be careful putting a preamp inline and into your transceivers receive only antenna jack - some rigs manuals warn that you can damage the rig this way.

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.